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Press Release


BEMF presents Juilliard415 & The Royal Conservatoire, directed by Ton Koopman in a performance of J. S. Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor—November 18 in Harvard Square

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ARTIST: Juilliard415 (United States)
The Royal Conservatoire of the Hague (Netherlands)
Ton Koopman, director (Netherlands)
WHEN: Friday, November 18, 2016 at 8pm
St. Paul Church, Bow & Arrow Streets, Cambridge
PROGRAM:  J. S. Bach: Mass in B Minor
TICKETS: Tickets are priced at $25, $45, $55, and $75 each, and can be purchased at and 617-661-1812; a $5 discount for students, seniors, and groups is available by calling 617-661-1812. Subscription discounts are available with the purchase of three or more programs on the 2016–2017 Season.

You won’t want to miss a unique collaboration between one of Early Music’s truly legendary figures and some of the most gifted young musicians in the world. Ton Koopman, founder and conductor of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, is held in the highest regard as “one of our most indispensable interpreters of Bach of our time” (Bachtrack). He conducts singers and instrumentalists from Juilliard415 and the Early Music Department at The Royal Conservatoire of the Hague—making their BEMF concert series début—in a performance of J. S. Bach’s monumental Mass in B Minor.

It was unusual for a staunch Lutheran like Bach to undertake this most Catholic of forms: the work is built on the bones of a much smaller 1733 setting of only those texts that the Catholic and Lutheran services shared, written to impress the new Catholic King of Poland. The invention and revision of the many parts of the complete mass spanned a quarter-century, with the first element – the Sanctus – appearing in 1724, and the finished work not until 1749, one of the last works Bach completed. In the words of Bach scholar Christoph Wolff, writing in the journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute, “The Mass in B Minor appears to be the summa not only of Bach’s vocal music, but of all his sacred music… Setting this text of the mass meant, above all else, giving a direct musical expression, without ambivalence, to invocation, praise, and the confession of faith… it was the supreme opportunity to unite his creed as a Christian with his creed as a musician in a single statement.”

There will be a Pre-Concert Talk at 7pm with author and esteemed Bach scholar and Adams University Professor of Historical Musicology at Harvard University Christoph Wolff.

As organist and harpsichordist, Ton Koopman has appeared in the most prestigious concert halls of the world and played the most important historical instruments of Europe. In 1979, he founded the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, which soon gained worldwide fame as one of the best ensembles on period instruments. Among his most ambitious projects has been the recording of the complete Bach cantatas, a massive undertaking for which he has been awarded the ECHO Klassik, the BBC Award, the Hector Berlioz Prize, and has been nominated for the GRAMMY Award and the Gramophone Award. Mr. Koopman has a very wide repertoire: as harpsichordist and organist he has performed music from the Renaissance to the Classical period, with the ABO he has explored intensely the Baroque and Classical period, and as a conductor with modern orchestras, his explorations encompass the early Romantics. Mr. Koopman is Professor at the University of Leiden, Honorary Member of the Royal Academy of Music in London, and artistic director of the Festival Itinéraire Baroque.

Since its founding in 2009, Juilliard415, the school’s principal period-instrument ensemble, has made significant contributions to musical life in New York and beyond, bringing major figures in the field of early music to lead performances of both rare and canonical works of the 17th and 18th centuries. Among the distinguished guests who have led Juilliard415 are Harry Bicket, William Christie, the late Christopher Hogwood, Monica Huggett, Ton Koopman, Nicholas McGegan, Jordi Savall, and Masaaki Suzuki. Juilliard415 tours extensively in the U.S. and abroad, with notable appearances at the Boston Early Music Festival, Leipzig Bachfest, and the Utrecht Early Music Festival. With its frequent musical collaborator, the Yale Institute of Sacred Music, the ensemble has performed throughout Italy, Japan, Southeast Asia, and the U.K. Recent milestones include fully-staged productions of Cavalli’s La Calisto and Handel’s Radamisto, a tour of Charpentier’s Actéon, and concerts in New York and Miami of incidental music to Shakespeare plays in collaboration with the Juilliard Drama Division.

The Early Music Department of The Royal Conservatoire of The Hague enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the largest and most important faculties of its kind. For forty years, the Early Music department has been a unique breeding ground and melting pot for talent in historical performance practice. The vocal and instrumental styles of music from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance up to the Early Romantic period are taught by musicians who are regarded as international authorities in their field. The department’s function as an international meeting point and its intensive collaboration with the Classical Music, Composition, and Jazz departments encourages every new generation of students to link the historic sources to contemporary work in its own way. Because of the high standards demanded by the international teaching corps, a degree from The Royal Conservatoire is an automatic recommendation in professional circles.

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BEMF’s 2016–2017 Season Press Release:

Recognized as the preeminent early music presenter and Baroque opera producer in North America, the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) has been credited with securing Boston’s reputation as “America’s early music capital” (The Boston Globe). Founded in 1981, BEMF offers diverse programs and activities, including one GRAMMY Award-winning and four GRAMMY Award-nominated opera recordings, an annual concert series that brings early music’s brightest stars to the Boston and New York concert stages, and a biennial week-long Festival and Exhibition recognized as the “world’s leading festival of early music” (The Times, London). The 19th Boston Early Music Festival will take place from June 11–18, 2017, and will feature fully staged performances of André Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise as the Centerpiece Opera. BEMF’s Artistic Leadership includes Artistic Directors Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, Opera Director Gilbert Blin, Orchestra Director Robert Mealy, and Dance Director Melinda Sullivan.

The 2016–2017 Boston Early Music Festival Concert Series is presented with support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, National Endowment for the Arts, ConstellationCenter, WGBH Radio Boston, Harpsichord Clearing House, Zuckermann Harpsichords International, and The Gregory E. Bulger Foundation.

For more information, images, press tickets, or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathleen Fay at 617-661-1812 or email